Rhinos were outscored by five tries to three, but rallied after going 22-0 behind in the opening 31 minutes.
Smith insisted: “I never thought it was that bad, just a few moments let us down more than the whole thing.
“We had a few moments on the end of the line that gave them opportunities to get some points in the first half, but we looked particularly threatening with the ball, throughout despite the scoreline.”
The coach was encouraged by the way Rhinos improved in the second half.
“We needed to build a bit of pressure,” he said. “We didn’t build any pressure in the first half. We created some opportunities, but we didn’t get into enough grind.
“We had a lot more of that in the second half where it was going end to end and I thought we looked the better of most of those passages.”
Centre Harry Newman made his return after a long-term hamstring injury and Smith confirmed he got through unscathed.
“He dusted off the cobwebs,” Smith said. “He was a bit rusty, but he looked sharp and he got through physically.”
Rhinos had to make a late change when captain Kruise Leeming dropped out.
Smith revealed: “Kruise has been ill for a few days and he’s a bit worse today.
“He wanted to play, but we couldn’t allow him to go out there in the state he was in.”
Leeming is part of the England squad, but Smith said it is too early to know if he will be available for next Saturday’s mid-season international against Combined Nations All Stars.
“I’m not sure of the extent of it,” Smith said. “Hopefully he will wake up and feel better, but he was in no position to play.”